Hugh Hefner

by admin - October 15th, 2017

By Kelsea Blair

After his recent passing on September 27, Hugh Hefner has been circulating through the internet a lot. Hefner’s name is often associated with the idea of being constantly surrounded by half naked women and living in the Playboy Mansion. Playboy Magazine, however, was created in 1953, during an era that most people deem as highly conservative and modest. Hefner opened up a new realm where the topic of sex could be discussed.

In 1938, Alfred Kinsey started research on marriage and sex. Kinsey and his research team interviewed thousands of people, asking hundreds of in depth questions about their relationships or thoughts on sex. He continued this research until 1963. The same year that Playboy was released, Kinsey released his second book, Sexual Behavior of the Human Female. Hugh Hefner was inspired by Kinsey. Dunar writes, “Hefner acknowledged his admiration of Kinsey, who, in his view, had exposed the hypocrisy of Americans about sex” (188 Dunar).

Hugh Hefner started Playboy Magazine with $8,000 he had gathered from 45 different investors, including $1,000 from his mother. The first issue he created in his kitchen, and it featured a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe that he purchased for $500 on the front cover. The first issue sold over 50,000 copies for 50 cents each, and Hefner had instant success. You can listen to Hefner further discuss his first Playboy issue here.


Despite the success Hugh Hefner achieved during his career, he faced many critics along the way. Most of the backlash he received was from people saying that he was objectifying women. He says, “When it came from what was called the liberal left, specifically as a part of the women’s movement — when the women’s movement became anti-sexual, it was a very confusing time for me then. It isn’t now.”(NPR). Hefner never viewed his magazine as a sex magazine, and didn’t want people thinking that’s all it was. He wanted sex to become a part of an everyday lifestyle, and for people to think of Playboy as a sophisticated men’s magazine.

After the first issue of Playboy was released, the company started to make some drastic changes in its image, going from a men’s magazine to crazy nightclubs. The first nightclub opened in Chicago, Hefner’s hometown. All the women working there dressed in skimpy, silky one pieces with bunny ears and tails. As more and more of these clubs opened, Hugh Hefner started to have “multiple girlfriends” and this is where the stereotypical image of Hefner began. He had a preference to date much younger girls and that continued all the way until his death.

Work Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America In The Fifties. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Willett, Megan. “The Evolution of the Playboy Woman’s Body Type from the 1950s to Now.” Insider, 28 Sept. 2017,

Gross, Terry. “Hugh Hefner On Early ‘Playboy’ And Changing America’s Values.” NPR, NPR, 28 Sept. 2017,

Mansnerus, Laura. “Hugh Hefner, Who Built the Playboy Empire and Embodied It, Dies at 91.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Sept. 2017,

Wikipedia contributors. “Hugh Hefner.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Oct. 2017. Web. 13 Oct. 2017

3 Responses to “Hugh Hefner”

  1. Meagan Perro says:

    It was interesting of you to chose Hugh Hefner since his recent passing. He has been mentioned so much recently on social media, and almost everything I’ve seen shows the stereotype of him being a man who was always surrounded by girls. It’s funny that he said he was doing the opposite of objectifying women because that’s pretty much what most people think of him today. The first picture on his first issue being Marilyn Monroe fits perfectly because she was known as a major sex symbol of the time and broke through the idea of being so conservative as did Hugh Hefner with breaking through the idea that it’s not okay to talk about sex. The link you chose to his interview really shows his point of view of the sexual revolution.

  2. Amanda Babbitt says:

    Its interesting to know that the 1950s was though of as a conservative and modest. Clearly the people of this time showed interest in sexual aspects of life if 50,000 of a magazine with a nude woman on the front were sold. I wonder what would would happen if someone would try to start a magazine like this one today because so many people are against objectifying women. Although Playboy was still popular, would it have been able to start from the beginning and blow up as it did in the 1950s? That would be interesting to find out.

  3. Hoang Vo says:

    It was interesting to find out that Huge Hefner created Playboy in 1953. Prior to this, I knew that Hefner was the creator and owner of Playboy but I did not know that it was created that early. As we know from reading the Peyton Place, sex was a fairly shy topic in the 1950s. The publishing of Playboy created an open controversy for both men and women. Although Playboy received a lot of backlashes, it for sure revolutionized the topic of sex. I have read on social media when Hefner passed away and one of the comment I found funny was “Hugh Hefner is the only man to say he is not in a better place when he died”. Hugh Hefner had an amazing life, he had been doing what he love since the age of 27. I wonder if Hugh Hefner and Playboy didn’t exist, would the conversion about sex in today’s world be the same?